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U.S. Supreme Court

Stansbury v. United States, 75 U.S. 8 Wall. 33 33 (1868)

Stansbury v. United States

75 U.S. (8 Wall.) 33


1. The Act of August 23, 1842, declaring that no officer of the government drawing a fixed salary shall receive additional compensation for any service unless it is authorized by law, and a specific appropriation made to pay it, is not repealed by the twelfth section of the Act of August 26 the same year. chanrobles.com-red

Page 75 U. S. 34

2. An agreement by the Secretary of the Interior to pay a clerk in his department for services rendered to the government by labors abroad -- the clerk still holding his place and drawing his pay as clerk in the Interior -- was accordingly held void.

A statute of the United States passed August 23, 1842, [Footnote 1] enacts as follows:

"No officer, in any branch of the public service or any other person whose salary, pay, or emoluments is or are fixed by law or regulations, shall receive any additional pay, extra allowance, or compensation, in any form whatever, for the disbursement of public money, or any other service or duty whatever, unless the same shall be authorized by law, and in the appropriation therefor explicitly set forth, that it is for such additional pay, extra allowance, or compensation."

A subsequent statute, [Footnote 2] one of the 26th August in the same year, enacts by its twelfth section, as follows:

"That no allowance or compensation shall be made to any clerk or other officer, by reason of the discharge of duties which belong to any other clerk in the same or any other department, and no allowance or compensation shall be made for any extra services whatever, which any clerk or other officer may be required to perform."

With these two enactments in force, Stansbury, being at the time a clerk in the Department of the Interior, was appointed in 1851, by the Secretary of the Interior, at that time Mr. Stuart, an agent to proceed to Europe and prepare for the department an account of the London Industrial Exhibition. In this employment, he was engaged in London, and subsequently at Washington, in the preparation of his report, for a term of seventeen months, but during all the time of this service, held his place and drew his pay as a clerk in the Interior Department. The Secretary promised, in writing, to pay his expenses and allow him a reasonable compensation for his services. The actual expenses of the agency were chanrobles.com-red

Page 75 U. S. 35

paid, but on his return, the Secretary of the Interior, now Mr. McLelland, declined to pay him anything more. He accordingly brought suit to recover from the United States the value of his services. The Court of Claims decided that the claim was within and barred by the act of August 23, 1842, and was not removed therefrom by the act of the following 26th, and ordered judgment to be entered for the United States. chanrobles.com-red

Page 75 U. S. 36


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